This Post-Debate Memo From the Biden Campaign Is Comedy Gold

The Biden-Harris campaign is desperately trying to find a way to spin Joe Biden’s disastrous debate performance, and has somehow landed on cherrypicking data that suggests the debate had no impact on the race, and then blaming the media for any dip in the polls he may experience.

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“It’s a familiar story: Following Thursday night’s debate, the beltway class is counting Joe Biden out,”Biden campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon writes. “The data in the battleground states, though, tells a different story. On every metric that matters, data shows it did nothing to change the American people’s perception, our supporters are more fired up than ever, and Donald Trump only reminded voters of why they fired him four years ago and failed to expand his appeal beyond his MAGA base.”

Then there’s this gem:

Flash polls from CNN538SurveyUSA, Morning Consult, and Data for Progress show what we expected: The debate did not change the horse race. This mirrors what the campaign’s internal post-debate polling showed: The president maintained his support among his 2020 voters and voters’ opinions were not changed.

The truth is, it can often take a couple of weeks to see what impact, if any, an event will have on public opinion. So, immediate post-debate polls aren’t going to tell the whole story. Nice try though. O’Malley Dillon then pointed to the campaign’s own internal polling.

Following the debate, our internal dials showed President Biden led Trump on key measures of being presidential, speaking to the issues that matter, and being likable by more than 20 points. Dials showed that independent voters were turned off by Trump’s personal attacks, and had deep negative feelings when Trump talked about January 6, his support for Putin, and refusing to lay out his vision for America. Our internal poll confirmed the dials: Trump’s performance left independent voters feeling less confident about his position on reproductive rights and abortion, respect for the Constitution and rule of law, and truthfulness. 

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Well, I guess it’s over then.The Biden campaign’s internal polling says it was a great night for Biden! Well, don’t we all feel stupid now?

Related: DNC Insiders: Biden Was Set Up to Fail in a ‘Soft Coup’

Oh, but this wasn’t even the worst part of the memo. According to O’Malley Dillon, even though she says that the metrics that matter were all super awesome for Joe Biden, “If we do see changes in polling in the coming weeks, it will not be the first time that overblown media narratives have driven temporary dips in the polls.”

In 2012, we saw media coverage of President Obama’s first debate performance drive a large, but temporary, drop in his polling – driven almost entirely by fewer Democrats answering polls in the days after the debate, rather than true changes in support.

It’s true that Barack Obama had a terrible first debate against Mitt Romney in 2012. I remember watching it and thinking that Mitt Romney had that election in the bag after that. Of course, Obama eventually recovered with an improved debate performance in their next faceoff. But, here’s the problem: The issue of Joe Biden’s performance wasn’t the same as Barack Obama’s. Barack Obama was clearly unprepared for the debate. Joe Biden spent an entire week off from being president, preparing. Being unprepared for a debate is something that is not impossible to recover form. Joe Biden has to prove to the entire nation that he isn’t too physically frail and cognitively impaired to be president. Good luck.

And the Biden campaign is basically saying that if Biden sees a dip in the polls, it’s not because he bombed the debate, but rather it’s the media’s fault. Can you believe that? Polls have been saying for months—heck, years now—that most voters think Biden is too old and frail to be president, and the debate is only the latest thing to make that abundantly clear. The media has been doing everything it can to cover up Biden’s cognitive decline; as recently as last week, the media was pushing the “cheap fakes” line.

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